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The fifth night of the Bengal Classical Music Festival 2016 concludes with a timeless flute concerto by Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia

The season of autumn is truly unique in Dhaka as the chill of the night befalls the magnificent city. With the calm breeze flows in the distinctive tunes of legendary flutist, Hariprasad Chaurasia. From the crowds at the gallery to the front rows of the historical Army Stadium, his tunes are anticipated by the masses as he concludes the night with his melodies. The anticipation and zeal within the stadium is a spectacle that is a testament to the power of music and its ability to unite people from all walks of life.

Hariprasad provided invaluable contributions to the realm of classical music, experimenting with new styles throughout the world. Witnessing his unparalleled command of the flute was a vision like no other and a note that will remain close to the hearts. The night may have come to an end but a performance such as this remains with us as they stir a part of our soul that only such melodies can. Embodying the ideology that music is indeed a universal language, the legendary artiste’s performance is surreal and something to be cherished.

The 5th night of the Bengal Classical Music Festival 2016 opened on 28th November at Army Stadium, Dhaka.

The first performance of the night was a mesmeric vocal rendition by the students of the Music Department of Dhaka University. The students performed Raga Bhupali. Swarop Hossain and Zakir Hossain accompanied them on tabla. On behalf of the students, Dr. Leena Taposhi, the Chairman of the department received the festival memento from the former Indian Ambassador to Bangladesh Deb Mukherjee.

The 2nd performance of the night was another aural delight. Students of the Bengal Parampara Sangeetalay performed Raga Charukeshi on sitar. The students who performed were Proshanjit Mondal, Shamya Dey, Jyoti Banerjee, Ahmed Imtiaz Humayun, Nisith Dey, Khandkar Nazmus Sakib, Ringko Chondra das, Mohammad Kausar, Jahangir Alam Shraban, TM Selim Reza, Ashis Narayan Sarker, Mehreen Alam. Prashanta Bhowmik and Supantho Majumdar were on tabla. On behalf of the artistes, Mehreen Alam received the festival memento from Ruby Ghuznavi, founder of National Craft Council.

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, KCMG, Founder & Chairperson of BRAC, was present as the Chief Guest at the closing. Distinguished academician and Professor Emeritus Anisuzzaman presided over the closing ceremony. Annisul Huq, the Honorable Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation and Mohammad Sayeed Khokon, the Honorable Mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation were the special guests. Anjan Chowdhury, Managing Director of Square Group was also among the special guests.

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed remembered versatile author Syed Shamsul Haq to whom this festival has been dedicated to. He remarked, “Classical music is imbedded in us. Artistes like Ustad Ali Akbar, Ustad Allauddin Khan and Pandit Ravi Shankar had roots in this country. The continuity of this festival will encourage the emergence of more world class artistes in this field.”

Professor Emeritus Anisuzzaman greeted everyone and expressed his gratitude towards the artistes. He said, “The practice of classical music was fading in our country. However, this festival has rejuvenated interests in the genre.”

Anjan Chowdhury, Managing Director of Square Group Ltd., expressed his pride at being involved with the festival and said, “Hopefully, we will present grander festival in the future.”

Mohammad Sayeed Khokon, the Honorable Mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation, requested Abul Khair to take responsibility for all the twelve music schools in Old Dhaka. He assured cooperation from the City Corporation to develop cultural institutes in that part of Dhaka. He expressed that the festival has proved to be a prominent initiative against recent militant activities. He said, “Bangladesh is moving forward under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Nothing can impede this momentum.”

Annisul Huq, Honorable Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation expressed his gratitude towards the organizers of this event. He urged the producers to pay the dues of the singers of the country. “Artistes can shape people’s mentalities, therefore, we should always pay our due respects to them.”

Abul Khair, Chairman of Bengal Foundation, requested a minute of silence in memory of recently deceased poet Syed Shamsul Huq and the people who had given their lives during the recent militant attacks. He expressed his gratitude towards the sponsors and partners of the event. According to him, this festival has become a platform to uplift the image of Bangladesh in front of the entire world. For the success of the festival he expressed his gratitude and thanks towards the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister, the Cultural Affairs Minister, the Bangladesh Army, the Bangladesh Police and the journalist friends from print and electronic media. He pleaded with the Prime Minister for the construction of at least three thousand cinema halls around the country. He also requested the construction of sports and cultural facilities in remote areas of the country.  He said, “We would like to develop a large cultural institute in the country.” After his speech he declared a three day Sufi Festival in January. At the end of the closing ceremony he handed over the crests to the chief guest and special guests of the night.

The next performances of the night was an ethereal santoor rendition by Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma. He performed Raga Jog. Sir Fazle Hasan Abed handed over the festival memento to this santoor exponent.

Following that, Kumar Mardur came on stage with his Khayal performance. At first, he performed Raga Puriya Kalyan. After that he rendered bhajan on Raga Kirwani. Ajinkya Joshi was on tabla with him. Renowned writer Anisul Hoque handed over the festival memento to the artiste.

The next performance was Sitar rendition by Pandit Kushal Das. He performed Raga Kaushi Kanada. Pandit Shubhankar Banerjee accompanied him on tabla. Artist Mustafa Monwar handed over the festival memento to the artiste.

Arati Ankalikar’s vocal rendition left the audience mesmerized. Her first rendition was a Khayal on Raga Jog Kauns. Then she sang a Thumri, sajanwa kaise mein aau torey paas, on Misra Khamaj. Rohit Majumdar was on tabla with the singer. Shahriar Alam, MP, State Minister of Foreign Affairs handed over the festival memento to the artiste.

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia rendered spectacular flute compositions in Raga Probhati and Raga Jait. Pandit Subhankar Banerjee accompanied him on tabla, and Debopriyo Ranadive and Bibek Sonar supported him on flute. Pandit Bhabani Shankar was on pakhawaj and Abhijit Kundu was on tanpura. Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Honorable Finance Minister handed over the festival memento to the legendary artiste.

Square Group presented the Bengal Classical Music Festival as the title sponsor. BRAC Bank was supporting the event as the main sponsor. Maasranga TV was the broadcast partner, while ICE Business Times was the media partner. Radisson Hotel Dhaka was the hospitality partner of the event, and Square Hospital was the medical partner. Blues Communications was in-charge of the event management. The festival was being presented in association with Bengal Digital, Mango and Bengal Parampara Sangeetalay. Perfect Harmony of Singapore was the strategic partner.

For the last four years, the Bengal Classical Music Festival has been the largest classical music event in the subcontinent showcasing performances from over two hundred classically trained singers and dancers. With the goal to popularize and perpetuate the practice of classical music, this festival went on for five nights. The event this year was dedicated to the memory of versatile author and poet Syed Shamsul Haq (1935-2016).

Photo Courtesy: Bengal Foundation

Some of the Photos on Display